Langara College holds Philosophers’ Jam to promote alternative voting systems

Philosophy department chair believes alternative voting is the future of political voting


Reported by Allison Hayes 

Langara’s Philosophy department chair, Alex Boston will host the next campus Philosophers’ Jam on Thursday  because he has a vision for better democratic voting systems.

The second jam of the season will focus on approval voting as the optimal way of running an election. The effective difference in approval voting is that a voter can elect more than one candidate on their ballot, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

“It’s backwards compatible that you can only vote for one candidate, it gives you some idea of tailoring the vote, everyone that supports one issue, or everyone but one, it prevents vote splitting,” Boston said.

Boston has been a fan of approval voting for a long time, having given a speech on electoral reform at the Citizen’s Assembly in 2005.

“In the jam I’ll examine approval voting and argue that whatever we go for should be something that’s fairly simple,” Boston said.

Katharine Browne, a philosophy ethics instructor at Langara, said the jam’s significance is its being open to the public and being another channel for like minded students and people of interest to come together.

“It’s important that we have another venue for students and members of the community to have the opportunity to engage philosophically on a wide range of topics,” Browne said.

Exploring alternative voting systems

With consistent turnouts, Browne expects the momentum to keep rolling. This has a lot to do with the newsworthy chosen topics.

“These jams allow the speaker to frame it in a way that is accessible to people who aren’t necessarily specialized,” Browne said.

Exploring alternative voting systems seems to be a pattern right now as, since being elected, the B.C. NDP’s have announced a referendum on electoral reform which, if it reaches the 50 per cent plus voters threshold, will be implemented in 2021. Ballots for the vote will be sent out next year to be completed by the end of November 2018.

The event will take place in the Employee Lounge in Building A on Thursday Oct.19 at 7 p.m.

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